NEWS

Bus Operator Fills In For His Bus Drivers

Raiwaqa Buses Limited (RBL) director Ashok Kumar took the steering wheel yesterday after at least three drivers turned down their jobs. Last week, about eight of his drivers left their
10 Oct 2017 11:00
Bus Operator Fills In For His Bus Drivers
Raiwaqa Buses Limited director Ashok Kumar. Photo: Arishma Devi-Narayan

Raiwaqa Buses Limited (RBL) director Ashok Kumar took the steering wheel yesterday after at least three drivers turned down their jobs.

Last week, about eight of his drivers left their jobs but at least five returned after coming in terms with the e-Transport system, Mr Kumar said.

And, a number of the e-Transport consoles have been deliberately damaged by drivers who have now left the company.

Mr Kumar said he and his son had to replace the drivers in order to ensure that there were no disruptions in the bus services provided by the company.

Mr Kumar said since the cashless system has stopped the drivers from stealing from the operators, they are now resorting to such acts including damaging the e-Transport consoles before leaving the job.

“On Saturday I had to report an incident with the Police after one of my drivers damaged the e-Transport consoles and fled from the job and here I am since the morning doing the job of theirs now,” Mr Kumar said.

He said the drivers were demanding a pay rise since the implementation of the cashless e-ticket system.

“We already pay them $6.00 to $7.00 per hour and we cannot just increase their pay considering that our revenue has gone down with public playing games with us,” Mr Kumar said disappointingly.

He relayed incidences where parents have been getting on the buses using their children’s student e-Transport cards (blue cards).

“When I explain to them that this is not right they say it has money in it just use it, or abuse me verbally,” he said.

This apart, Mr Kumar said the drivers were running away from their jobs because they did not prefer decent money.

He has made a call to the Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV) licence holders to come forward and use their skills to provide the services for a decent income.

On the other hand, Mr Kumar called for the Land Transport Authority to beef up its enforcement officers on the roads because their revenue is now being cut by minivan operators.

“We have vans now cutting our jobs at the routes we service, they provide service on a flat fare which is cheap and passengers prefer them,” Mr Kumar said.

Central Transport Limited general manager said while all his drivers were now at work, the drivers were demanding pay raise but their work enthusiasm had decreased.

“We are now monitoring the performance of drivers based on which we will decide who deserves a pay rise because we have noticed that their interest in work has decreased,” Mr Ajay Kumar said.

Mr Kumar said the pay rise will be done next month when the company directors are in the country.

In the meantime, he called for the bus operators to consider a fixed pay rate for all bus drivers in all bus companies otherwise they will lose drivers to the competitors.

But for the drivers, the pay is not enough and they are waiting to see the change in their pay soon.

Praneel Prasad, a bus driver of Citiline Bus Services Limited, said the drivers were working long hours with less pay.

“But our bosses said they would be looking into our pay and we are expecting to see a change by next week hopefully,” Mr Prasad said.

Meanwhile, the bus operators and drivers have also called out to public to respect their jobs and not abuse them.

The Land Transport Authority last week confirmed that they had beefed enforcement officers on the roads to look out on all aspects of the e-Transport issues.

Moreover, the demand from the bus operators to fast track driving licence for PSV applicants was heard.

Now the applicants can apply for PSV licence at the age of 18 and applications have been assured to be processed in least time.

Edited by Mohammed Ali

Feedback:  arishma.narayan@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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